World Cup Soccer

I love watching soccer — it’s like hockey stretched way out and in slow motion, so there’s time to watch the play develop: the positioning, the passing, the intricate footwork. The goalie does seem like a rather small person in front of a really large net, but that’s probably from watching hockey, (I’m married to a Canadian; I think it was in the vows), in which the goalie is a rather large person in front of a really small net.

My husband found this really entertaining article about why Canada can’t make it to the World Cup. I especially enjoyed the line “Even the United States is in the World Cup, although, in terms of excitement generated among U.S. fans, soccer still lags well behind ice fishing, demolition derby, lawn darts and league bowling.”

This lack of interest in real pro soccer always puzzles me — this is the sport that is played by probably 90% of American children, and as the author of the article points out, the reason we drive mini-vans. What happens to all of those soccer players when they grow up? Is there just a generational lag, and we will see an expanding interest in and support of this sport as these children grow up and want an outlet for all of those finely honed skills?

We then investigated the basic rules of soccer, trying to determine when the ball is thrown in vs. kicked in vs. subject to a penalty kick. I’m not sure we understand it any better than we did before. I also need some help understanding offsides. I remember my son explaining this to me after almost every game when he played in middle and high school. I still don’t get it. Any help would be appreciated.

And what is up with this random assigning of “extra minutes” at the end of the game? Seems like an opportunity ripe for corruption. Shouldn’t the game just be over when it’s over? And if they want to account for extra time on whistles, couldn’t they just stop the clock like they do in every other game on the planet?

Anyway, we just watched Argentina beat Nigeria. Pretty good game. I was especially impressed by the fact that both teams seemed to be able to concentrate while apparently being menaced by a giant mosquito.

p.s. Disturbing footnote: I was looking for a suitable image to use, and on the first Google page that came up under the term “World Cup Soccer” 5 of 25 pictures were of scantily clad women in provocative poses. Seriously? This is the Google brilliant search engine at work for us, helping us find the most relevant links? Sheesh.

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